How to Obtain Power of Attorney in New Jersey

By Tom Streissguth

New Jersey law provides for a power of attorney. This document allows an agent to act on behalf of the individual signing the power of attorney, also known as the grantor or principal. Whereas a standard power of attorney lapses if the principal becomes incapacitated, a durable power of attorney remains in effect. As the prospective agent, you may obtain a power of attorney by having a principal sign, date and notarize a simple form.

Step 1

Obtain a New Jersey Power of Attorney form. Blank forms are available from your attorney or a legal-aid office, or from various legal web sites which allow you to fill in, download and print out the form. Make sure the form is appropriate for your particular situation. A durable power of attorney must have specific language that permits the agent to work on behalf of the principal in the event of the latter's incapacity and inability to make decisions or handle his own affairs. A contingent or "springing" power of attorney takes effect only if and when certain conditions arise -- such as the grantor's incapacity.

Step 2

Fill in the name and address of the principal -- the person who is giving you authority as the agent -- and your own name and address.

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Step 3

Indicate what specific powers the principal will grant to you, or what actions you will be allowed to make on your principal's behalf. This may include real estate or financial transactions; representation in estate and trust matters; managing a business; handling disability or retirement benefits; or handling tax matters. Some power-of-attorney forms include a series of paragraphs with language covering specific areas, allowing you to simply initial or check the paragraphs that will apply.

Step 4

Add any special provisions that apply to you as the agent. This may include the authority to delegate your responsibilities to another party, or the right to any compensation for your work. The power-of-attorney form may also include language appointing a successor agent in the event you, as the original agent, become incapacitated or otherwise unable to carry out your duties.

Step 5

Bring the completed form to a notary public, and have your principal sign and date the form where indicated at the bottom. A notary public is an individual authorized to witness oaths and whose job is to verify your identity and the identity of the principal. You won't need to sign the form to make it effective.

Step 6

Bring the power of attorney to the clerk of court in the county where the principal resides. Have the clerk enter the form into the public record and certify it with a date, signature and court seal. Although this step is not legally required, it does provide you with a certified document that has already been recognized as valid by the court.

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Power of Attorney Letter Format

A power of attorney, sometimes also known as a letter of attorney, is a document that allows someone else to act on your behalf and hold either general or specific authority to make financial, legal and health care decisions. The laws of the individual states govern the creation and use of powers of attorney. The format of the document itself may vary, with a letter form serving as one common and relatively simple alternative. A power of attorney letter may be addressed to a specific group or individual, to the agent or as a general declaration.

Can a Person Give or Turn Over Her Power of Attorney to Someone Else?

Although a power of attorney involves two persons, it is not a contract and can be unilaterally revoked. The person making the document, termed the principal, uses the power of attorney to name an agent to act for her. A competent principal is free to revoke that authority at any time and confer it on another agent. The person named as agent can also decline to serve but cannot give or transfer her authority under the power of attorney to another.

Do I Need a Power of Attorney for Me to Leave on Vacation?

Since no two businesses or vacations are the same, only you can determine whether your business needs a substitute hands-on boss while you are at the beach. With the technology available today, many vacationing businesspeople simply check in by phone or Internet to make critical decisions. However, it is also possible to give a trusted employee authority to act in your behalf under a power of attorney.

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